Oct 6, 2009

I cried 4 times today

  1. This morning one of my mentees told me that his mother (who has cancer) is not showing any signs of progress. His father died of cancer last year.
  2. I teared up when I was talking about an example of adversity I had to overcome when I was their age. The theme of our current unit on the memoir is "Freedom & Adversity." They started to tear up with me.
  3. One of my students shared that she wasn't able to make up with her grandfather before he passed away... on her birthday. Another said his father told him he was leaving for a vacation. He left 2 years ago and never came back.
  4. One of my students shared a time when she was blatantly called the "n" word WHILE playing in a golf tournament this past summer. She couldn't focus. She won first place.
I'm feeling like I shouldn't have gotten into this unit. I didn't realize how heavy it would get. I thought they'd talk about things like broken bones, the day their dogs died, or getting over their fears of swimming. I didn't think they'd broach topics of death, household abuse, heartbreak, illness, poverty, violence, racism, adoption, divorce, prison, etc.

Being a 7th grader where I come from didn't used to be this bad... at least not the way I remember it. I guess it's a good thing I'm giving them some sort of outlet, and I can only hope that this opportunity to share and reflect on overcoming their adversities will be a positive experience for me AND my kids.


teachin' said...

It's incredibly hard, I know, but it IS a positive thing. You're showing them that someone gives a shit about what they're going through, that someone cares that they deal with the kind of stuff that adults would have a hard time with, that they matter and they're heard and they're real.

I had a similar day last year with a few of my sixth graders: http://imadreamerteacher.blogspot.com/2009/05/my-heart-is-little-broken-today.html It will never leave me, but I THINK it was a good thing in the end. So, so, so hard. But important.

You're doing the right thing. Too many people don't, just brush over the truth, ignore the pain. That doesn't make it stop. You're doing the right thing.

luckeyfrog said...

One of the girls in my class wrote her grandpa a letter, and I didn't think anything of it until she started crying. I pulled her aside, and she told me her grandpa died last year. Later, when I read the letter, she wrote that she was sorry her mom didn't have time to visit his grave on father's day (which was in JUNE- this day was in December).

We had students write three holiday wishes for someone else. Sure, there were a few "I wish my mom would get an x-box" kinds of selfish things, but there were also things like "I wish my mommy and daddy were still together" and "I wish my mom's back didn't hurt anymore because it really hurts her" or "I wish my dad didn't have to work so much so he can go to sleep."

It was heartbreaking, but also sweet to hear how thoughtful some of the students were.

What I tried to tell myself is that no one forced the students to share- instead, they WANTED to. If they want to, just think- they may not have anywhere else that they feel comfortable sharing it and getting it out.